Practices From the Inside Out: Spiritual Life is Beginning to Bloom

Practices From the Inside Out: Spiritual Life is Beginning to Bloom March 9, 2019

Spiritual Life is Beginning to Bloom

I was born and raised in the country far from where I live now.

There is a cycle of cultivation and growing in the country. Each season plays its own role in the cycle.

The cycle begins in winter. Winter can appear to be a time of year when nothing really happens. It is, though, a significant season because winter sets the tone for the rest of the year.

Winter weather makes it a challenge to do much work outdoors, so winter is a thoughtful time. The land, and the people who work on it, need time to rest and reflect. In winter we take time to recognize the lessons the year has had for us.

We prepare for the work which is coming in the rest of the cycle. Winter is when we sort out the demands of the other seasons.

Without winter things do not bloom during the rest of the year.

Now I live in a place without seasons. It is more difficult to appreciate how seasons change and more challenging to take time to reflect.

People here are not familiar with the importance of winter. They do not see the role winter plays in the cycle of the year. Most of them have never seen a real farm. They believe food comes from a grocery store or a market or a website.

Many of the people here do not spend enough time in reflection. They do not appreciate how we cultivate and grow what our lives produce.

It is a surprise to them when they discover things beginning to bloom.

Spiritual life can be like things which grow in the ground. We need to take time for rest and reflection. It can take a little winter before things begin to grow.

Where is Spiritual Life Beginning to Bloom?

People in the country who grow plants and animals are organized and intentional. They take specific, measured steps to ensure the crops they want to produce grow in the right place at the right time.

Some of us try to cultivate spiritual life like farmers cultivate crops. We have an organized, intentional system which we hope will pay off later in the cycle.

It is easy for us to forget spiritual life is not a domesticated plant. We can work hard to master spiritual life, to make it grow where we want it to grow, but it grows wild. Spiritual life is more like the wildflowers and other plants which grow wherever they want than our crops.

In some ways spiritual life is like a weed.

We often find spiritual life beginning to bloom in places we might prefer it did not. Spiritual life spreads across our carefully marked boundaries and evenly spaced rows.

The more we try to cultivate spiritual life and keep it under control, the more uncontrolled it is.

Soon we find spiritual life beginning to bloom in places we least suspected. The more we try to master spiritual life the clearer it becomes spiritual life is mastering us.

Eventually we realize the meaningful choice we face. Do we prefer pulling out spiritual life to protect our carefully ordered rows or do we appreciate the gift of spiritual life? Are we willing and able to allow spiritual life to transform what we were trying to control? Can we recognize the beauty and productivity of spiritual life is far beyond what we initially intended?

During winter according to the calendar, beyond our control, spiritual life is beginning to bloom. Buds are opening when and where we least expect them.

Recognizing When Spiritual Life is Beginning to Bloom

Spiritual life does not bloom according to the calendar nor according to our expectations. If we want to live in spiritual life we need to recognize what happens when spiritual life is beginning to bloom.

Like many things which are valuable, it often begins in small ways.

We need to pay attention to know when wildflowers are beginning to bloom. Blooming is a natural process which happens over time. Watching and listening are more rewarding skills than predicting or explaining.

Experiencing when something is beginning to bloom is part of a relationship we build. As we listen and watch, we wait and our relationship grows stronger. When we spend time together regularly we begin to appreciate the changes which indicate something is beginning to bloom.

Like with flowers and other plants we spend time watching and listening, paying attention to spiritual life. We begin to recognize spiritual life within us and in the world around us. It may seem to us spiritual life is lying dormant until we appreciate it is beginning to bloom.

Buds slowly emerge from the branch and even more slowly begin to open. Our listening and watching and patience show us spiritual life beginning to bloom.

Spiritual Life is Beginning to Bloom in Us

Like the land and the people working on it, we take time to rest and reflect.

We cannot cultivate spiritual life to bloom in us. Spiritual life does not intend to meet our expectations.

Our part of spiritual life beginning to bloom is to listen and watch, to pay calm attention. We do not wish to master spiritual life, but to agree for spiritual life to master us.

It is not about planning the straightest rows or being the best plowers or planters. Spiritual life is beginning to bloom in us, and in the world, and it is beyond our control. Our part is to experience it.

We see the beauty of spiritual life beginning to bloom. Paying attention, the aroma of its fragrance fills our senses. We rest and reflect in the beauty of spiritual life.

Like wildflowers, spiritual life is beginning to bloom at times and in places we do not expect.

Our part of the blooming is to pay attention and to notice.

Where do we recognize spiritual life beginning to bloom today?

How is spiritual life beginning to bloom in us this week?

[Image by rawdonfox]

Greg Richardson is a spiritual life mentor and coach in Southern California. He is a recovering attorney and a lay Oblate with New Camaldoli Hermitage near Big Sur, California. Greg’s website is, and his email address is

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